Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
Economic Recession In The Days Of Moshiach

The Amora Shmuel says (Brachos 34b) that there is no difference between now and when Moshiach comes other than that we will not be subservient to other nations.  Poverty will still exist and will never be solved.  So much for my grandmother's krechtz every time she hears about someone struggling financially or losing their job, that it is time for Moshiach already!  Sorry Bubbi, Moshiach is not the answer... or is he?

Last week after being told that I was officially laid off, I had a conversation with someone that made me realize that Moshiach is the answer after all.  I was telling a very wealthy friend of mine about my plight and he asked me what I am planning to do.  I told him I don't know, but I guess I will figure it out.  He was astonished and said, "It's amazing, you look so calm.  If this happened to me I'd hang myself!"

For the rest of the day his drastic words echoed in my head as I tried to make sense of them.  Then it struck me.  Sure being unemployed is a huge problem, with a family to feed and only a few months savings to rely on, but that was it.  All it is, is a huge horrible problem, nothing more, nothing less.  Life is still rich with children, learning, projects, and other activities.  In fact while trying to solve this big problem, there will be even more time to do the things that matter most, the things that are truly the essence of life.  Making money is just a very important and necessary distraction from spending time the way we would like.

However if you spend your time shuttling between the slopes and the beach with a quick stopover in Eretz Yisroel in between for Yom Tov, if behind the wheel in you new luxury vehicle is the place you feel most at home, then without money you have no life and it becomes more understandable why you think you'd hang yourself.  What is there to stick around for?  How can you face the people who once respected you?  Life becomes just one big nightmare when there is no money to "live".

Maybe this pshat in the gemara (Brachos 18) that says "Reshaim BiChayeihim Kruyin Meisim".  Reshaim even while experiencing life's pleasures are really dead.  If life will become worthless unless you get the hottest new item on the market, you may  already be dead and it is time to say Boruch Dayan HaEmes.  "Tzadikim B'Misasam Nikri'u Chaim".  If you can still manage to find satisfaction in life without money or health you are very much alive.  A tzaddik is very much vibrant, productive, and full of life no matter what his miserable plight is on earth.

When Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spector grew despondent over his family's poverty, he would turn around to face the wall and learn for 24 hours straight.  He couldn't do anything to relieve their hunger so he chose life.  Rav Yechezkel Abramsky was able to find life while being held prisoner in the wilds of Siberia.  The Klausenberger kept his spirits alive in the Nazi death camps.  Both of them managed without even the ability to perform basic mitzvos or learn torah.  They needed nothing at all, as their souls were alive and aflame.  They were the essence of life.

True poverty will always exist even after Moshiach comes, but it will be very different.  In those days, which we fervently pray for, it will be clear to everyone that life means cleaving to Hashem by learning Torah and participating in the avodah in the Bais HaMikdash.  People will work, some will be wealthy and some will struggle.  However you can rest assure that nobody will talk of suicide when they are laid off.  Yes, they will struggle to solve their huge problem and try to find ways to feed their starving family.  But life will go on in a very meaningful way.  Finally with some time off they will be able to take a leisurely visit the Bais HaMikdash on a regular weekday afternoon and connect to Hashem like nowhere else on earth!

Whether the dead will arise form their grave when Moshiach comes or at a later time is a debate among Chazal.  However when Moshiach comes there will surely be a great Techias HaMeisim as the living dead finally become alive.